April 7, 2020

Microsoft offers free Skype video chat as Zoom’s privacy nightmare continues

Microsoft, Skype, Zoom, Privacy

If you’ve been working from in the past few weeks, the chances are that you attended at least one meeting via Zoom video call. Zoom rose rapidly to popularity during the COVID-19 crisis, as it’s an easy to use app that delivers a reliable video calling experience. You don’t need to be a pro at video chat apps to set it up and run it comfortably.

However, with each day that went by, we heard of novel ways Zoom was endangering your privacy and security. Zoom has been sharing data with Facebook, exposed thousands of emails to strangers, and allowed access to private videos. Add to that the fact that Zoom isn’t end-to-end encrypted as you were lead to believe, and you’ve got the full picture of an app you should discard until the company fixes it for good. That’s where Microsoft’s Skype comes in, as the app now offers users a Zoom-like experience.

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Microsoft on Friday reminded Skype users that the app has a Meet Now feature that should work just as easily as Zoom.

Meet Now supports free video conference calls and doesn’t require a Microsoft account to get started. The Skype feature works directly in the browser, so you don’t have to install an app. A button press is enough to create a free meeting and invite others.

The meeting link does not expire, and you can use it again, and there’s no limit on the video calls.

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Meet Now also lets you record the call if you need to retrieve contents from it later, and Microsoft stores the recordings for up to 30 days. Meet Now also enables you to blur your background, a feature that can come in handy when working from home, and lets you share your computer screen whenever you have to share your work with the other people in the call.

From the looks of it, you can even use Skype’s Meet Now feature to create ad hoc virtual meetings with your loved ones. Given that many countries and regions still have strict lockdown rules in place, using a video conferencing app to talk to your family should definitely help everyone keep up their social distancing game. Then again, Meet Now isn’t the only video chat option for families, as there’s at least one app on your phone that can support video calls.

But Meet Now, like Zoom, doesn’t care about platform, and will work on any phone or computer. So that’s one thing to consider when setting up your work or family video calls in the next few weeks.

NY Post